The two states that most vocally contest that they are the birthplace of the Republican Party happen to be Wisconsin and Michigan.Ripon, Wisc. might be the most accepted site, most recently visited by Pres. George W. Bush’s “Legacy Tour”, presidential aspirant Rick Santorum, and, most importantly, Virginia’s-own Rick Sincere!
The inscription at the site says:
While that is definitely a convincing claim, “Not so fast,” says Jackson, Mich.:
In 1852 Alvan Earle Bovay of Ripon met with Horace Greeley in New York and advocated dissolution of the Whig Party and formation of a new party to fuse together anti-slavery elements. At the same time he suggested the name “Republican” because he felt “it was a good name…..with charm and prestige.”
The opportunity to act came in January 1854 when Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, which permitted the extension of slavery beyond the limits of the earlier Missouri Compromise. Three months’ debate on the bill created upheavals in all the existing political parties.
When the bill passed the Senate on March 3, 1854, Bovay promptly called a meeting of 53 voters in the little white schoolhouse to organize a new party. Years later Bovay recalled: “We went into the little meeting, Whigs, Free Soilers, and Democrats. We came out Republicans, and we were the first Republicans in the Union.”
On February 22, 1856 a convention was held at Pittsburgh to establish a national organization and the name “Republican” was adopted for the new party. Among those present were Horace Greeley and Abraham Lincoln.
On July 6, 1854, a state convention of anti-slavery men was held in Jackson to found a new political party. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” had been published two years earlier, causing increased resentment against slavery, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of May, 1854, threatened to make slave states out of previously free territories. Since the convention day was hot and the huge crowd could not be accommodated in the hall, the meeting adjourned to an oak grove on “Morgan’s Forty” on the outskirts of town. Here a state-wide slate of candidates was selected and the Republican Party was born. Winning an overwhelming victory in the elections of 1854, the Republican party went on to dominate national parties throughout the nineteenth century.
Jackson is a little less specific than their Wisconsin brethren, and perhaps a few months short of actually getting the title, but the reality is that the Republican Party can directly trace its roots to two states: Wisconsin and Michigan.
In this 2012 campaign, where Democrats are threatening the economic slavery of every American – beholden to debt, unemployment and the ever-growing power of the state, isn’t it fitting then that the Republican standard bearers, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, are from Michigan and Wisconsin respectively?
These two champions from the north are fighting the new cause for freedom – a fight for our return to free market principles and the growth of the economy vice the continued burden that comes from the growth of the state.
Their cause is to establish an economy where private enterprise can succeed, where success is applauded, and where entrepreneurs are recognized for “building that.” Their economic blueprint, along with future congressional support from Virginians like Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Rep. Robert Hurt, Rep. Scott Rigell, and Col. Chris Perkins in the U.S. House and former Governor George Allen in the U.S. Senate, lays the course for industry and jobs to grow, which will lead to the growth of federal revenues and save the promise of Medicare and Social Security.
And this approach has worked. We’ve seen in Virginia that living within our means without raising taxes and fostering an environment that promotes economic growth, increases state revenues.
While Uncle Joe’s been put back to his Delaware cabin, to ostensibly take a vacation, after threatening a largely African American audience in Virginia that Romney and Ryan will put “y’all back in chains”, one can only gaze at the irony of the Democratic Party, who once did advocate the shackling of Americans, lecturing the party of Lincoln on the role of government in supporting freedom and prosperity.
We recently celebrated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Republicans led the way in passing these laws, voting approximately 80% in favor of the Civil Rights Act and 30-1 in the Senate and 111-20 in the House for the VRA. While their Democratic colleagues were overwhelmingly in favor as well, they still had much larger opposition to the bills.
It is clear that Republicans led the charge against slavery; led the charge for civil rights; and, now, are leading the charge for economic freedom – all in the party’s original charter.
Fitting that those leading the charge are from Michigan and Wisconsin.